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Flat-cap Lennie!

By: Stephen Bateman
Date: 04/12/2000

After clawing back a two-goal deficit on Saturday, Lennie Lawrence said that "under the circumstances, it was like winning". Goalscorer Kevin Donovan has also been in a bullish mood. Having scored his second goal in two games, the midfielder feels that he has been given a fresh lease of life.

Donovan, who has spent most of his Grimsby career on the right side of midfield acknowledged the fact that his change in fortunes was partially due to Lawrence handing him the opportunity to shine, as he said: "I am enjoying playing, especially there just behind the front two. That is my preferred place, and I haven't had much chance to play there since I came to the club." Commenting on the role that he was asked to play under former manager Alan Buckley as opposed to the free role he was given on Saturday, Donovan hinted that he felt he was possibly not being given the opportunity to play to his strengths as he continued: "I do enjoy playing out wide in a 4-4-2, but if given the choice it would be in there, as I think that is where I can get goals, and that is my best position. I am more involved and hopefully my form will continue." Meanwhile, Lawrence was clearly pleased with the spirit demonstrated by his side as he commented "The spirit remains very good. You wouldn't have given us much of a chance 2-0 down with five or six minutes to go, but they stuck at it." Remaining realistic about the dire position that Grimsby found themselves in with just five minutes left, the wry Londoner added: "We got ourselves out of jail. There is no other phrase to describe it really. "The effort was commendable. Lots of players were coming back from injury, people had been ill during the week and missed training, and I thought it was going to cost us." The Grimsby manager also demonstrated his loyalty to the players as he went on to defend the efforts of Peter Handyside, whose error cost the Mariners their second goal: "I am well pleased with him - it was above and beyond the call of duty. He has had a problem with his leg and he could have sat in the treatment room and said he was unfit - I wouldn't have a word said against Peter." Lawrence singled out both Handyside and Donovan for praise after the game, yet remains realistic about the struggles that lie ahead, as he concluded: "I thought Donovan was outstanding and I'm well pleased with Peter. The spirit is excellent, but there's still room for improvement." Lawrence's opposite number, Alan Smith, evidently left Blundell Park with a hand on his wallet and an up-turned collar as he rather bizarrely commented: "Grimsby is a tough place to come for a southern team. It is a bit colder up here and a bit starker. "You can dress like I do and walk about with all the nice watches in the world, but when you come to Grimsby that doesn't mean anything, and it is not going to buy you a result." Perhaps Mariners fans will now see fit to award Lennie Lawrence an honorary flat-cap and racing pigeon.

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